Gasoline prices nationally have climbed 42 cents in the last 30 days, with much of that coming in the past few days. At the same time, Jackson prices are heading to $3.60 a gallon and beyond, making those $3.10 and $3.15 a gallon prices of mid January a fond but distant memory.
The Biloxi Sun-Herald, meanwhile, reports increases along the Mississippi stretch of Interstate 10 to around $3.49 a gallon. That rise is still below that of the Metro Jackson area.
On Feb. 6, Mississippi motorists paid an average price of $3.35 for a gallon gas, according to the AAA Fuel Gauge Report, the Sun-Herald reported Friday. By the start of last weekend, Mississippi’s average rose to $3.44, an increase of 9 cents in nine days, the newspaper reported.
Meanwhile, Atlanta’s per gallon price is heading to $4 territory, the Atlanta Journal-Constitution reported Monday.
Late last winter brought a similar spike, though prices began steadily dropping on April 6, shedding 56 cents nationally off a per gallon price that didn’t begin rising again until mid July.
When the uptick started, Jackson had the cheapest per gallon prices in the country at an average of $3 even, a Lundberg Survey that canvassed about 2,500 filling stations in the lower 48 states showed.
Lundberg at the time found the highest average prices in Chicago, at $3.78, CNN reported.
Crude oil prices held above $95 a barrel Monday, a day on which U.S. stock markets closed for Presidents’ Day. The price fell below $96 on Friday.
Two-thirds of the cost of one gallon of gas comes from the price of crude, which has jumped 10 percent in the last two months, according to the Energy Information Administration, CNN reports.
Along with the availability and price of crude, two other reported reasons for the new gasoline price spike are the same as previous ones: U.S. refineries shutting down for maintenance and Iran’s destabilizing moves in the Mideast,
At the L.A. Times, columnist Paul Whitefield is less conventional in assessing the cause of the pricey visits to the pump:
“Welcome to the world of illusion, to sleight of hand, to misdirection — and although you may be amazed, you probably won’t laugh,” he writes.
“As my colleague Ronald D. White wrote Monday: ‘Hedge funds, commodity pools and other high-roller investors have thrown close to $12.5 billion into a collective bet that gasoline prices will rise.’”
“See, it’s magic: Poof, there went more of your paycheck!
“Isn’t it nice to know, though, that folks who drive Ferraris and fly first class or on private jets are profiting from those of us who drive to work?”